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W.Va. urges new US laws on mine safety

WASHINGTON -- Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia urged the federal government yesterday to follow his state's lead and come up with new protections for coal miners.

''I never want to tell another child that I'm not sure if Daddy has enough air," Manchin said. ''I don't want to tell another wife that we haven't found him yet but that we're still looking."

Manchin joined West Virginia's congressional delegation in calling for new safety laws and demanding that the agency that oversees coal mine safety be more aggressive about enforcing rules.

The group met with White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and officials with the Labor Department and its subagency, the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Deputy Labor Secretary Steven Law said federal officials were reviewing sweeping mine safety legislation that Manchin pushed through the West Virginia Legislature on Monday. That legislation followed the deaths of 14 miners recently in that state.

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